Monday, August 23, 2010
Monday, August 16, 2010
A short list of nursery school thoughts from a recent favorite, Preschool Gems:
“Plants are more important than games.”
“I love all cakes, except some cakes I don’t like.”
“But I’m going somewhere even excitinger.”
“I don’t think anything.”
“Wizards are true.”
“The good force is like the main force, the evil force is like the second force. Don’t use the evil force, just the good force.”
When they arrive throughout the day, I can’t help but think of Sir Ken Robinson’s insight earlier this year on creativity and education:Kids will take a chance. If they don’t know, they’re not frightened of being wrong. I’m not saying that wrong is the same thing as being creative. What we do know is that if you’re not prepared to be wrong, you’ll never come up with anything original. And by the time they get to be adults, most kids have lost that capacity. … And we run our companies that way — we stigmatize mistakes. And we’re now running national education systems where mistakes are the worst thing you can make. We’re educating people out of their creative capacities.
Throughout the day, it’s good to have reminders:
“Once, a long time ago, I had the whole world, and then I lost it.”
And that it’s absolutely OK.
This made me shiver.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Please come bringing new things.
Let very old things come into your hands.
Let what you do not know come into your eyes.
Let desert sand harden your feet.
Let the arch of your feet be the mountains.
Let the paths of your fingertips be your maps
And the ways you go be the lines of your palms.
Let there be deep snow in your inbreathing
And your outbreath be the shining of ice.
May your mouth contain the shapes of strange words.
May you smell food cooking you have not eaten.
May the spring of a foreign river be your navel.
May your soul be at home where there are no houses.
Walk carefully, well-loved one,
Walk mindfully, well-loved one,
Walk fearlessly, well-loved one.
Return with us, return to us,
Be always coming home.
---Ursula K. Leguin
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
For some reason this resonates with the Supreme Court's decision re:corporate campaign funding. There is nothing human about 97% of corporations out there. They will not laugh at your jokes and they don't care if you can find your gate number on your boarding pass as long as you have already paid them for the ticket. They will also fire you if you get them bad press.
I keep thinking about Jessica’s one thing:The work you do while you procrastinate is probably the work you should be doing for the rest of your life.
And this from Lorrie Moore on how to become a writer:First, try to be something, anything, else. A movie star/astronaut. A movie star/missionary. A movie star/kindergarten teacher. President of the World. Fail miserably. It is best if you fail at an early age — say, fourteen. Early, critical disillusionment is necessary so that at so that at fifteen you can write long haiku sequences about thwarted desire. It is a pond, a cherry blossom, a wind brushing against sparrow wing leaving for mountain. Count the syllables. Show it to your mom. She is tough and practical. She has a son in Vietnam and a husband who may be having an affair. She believes in wearing brown because it hides spots. She’ll look briefly at your writing, then back up at you with a face blank as a donut. She’ll say: “How about emptying the dishwasher?” Look away. Shove the forks in the fork drawer. Accidentally break one of the freebie gas station glasses. This is the required pain and suffering. This is only for starters.
Maud Newton points out:Many writers do focus on another path initially. …. Roberto Bolaño, for instance, wanted to be a spy, Kate Christensen a rock star, Joan Didion an actress. Chris Adrian went to medical school, and the seminary. Herman Melville was a sailor.
But then, importantly, they were not these things.
Seth Godin, yesterday, published a new book, which has a tagline of: “Are You Indispensable?” Keep all of this in mind — Jessica’s advice, Lorrie Moore’s wisdom, Maud’s synthesis — and consider what Dan Pink had to say to Seth:Too many people harbor the misguided belief that humans are motivated solely by biological urges and by carrots-and-sticks. Those two drives matter, of course. But we’ve neglected that humans also have a *third* drive — to direct our own lives, to get better at stuff, to make a contribution. Here’s an example. This weekend somebody’s going to be practicing the clarinet — even though it won’t get him a mate (the first drive) or make him any money (the second drive.) Why is he doing that? Because it’s fun, it’s interesting, it’s meaningful. Because the act is its own reward.
It’s a lot. But, in fact, it’s fairly simple. Try to be anything else. That’s where it gets all tangle-y and difficult. Then go back to the thing that drives you; that act is its own reward.